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Monday, February 11th, 2013
I’m typing one-handed as the little cherub we’ve anxiously been waiting for sleeps nestled in the crook of my arm, mouth agape, purring like a tiny cat. I just wanted to take a quick second to let everyone know that baby girl arrived fast and furious and healthy on Thursday, February 7th.
Finley Juliet Besich weighed in at 6lbs, 6oz and 19 3/4 inches.
In regards to my previous post, I thought I’d let you know, I’ve unlocked the secret to going into labor naturally. Lean in and listen close. Plan something.
I had planned a very indulgent “pregnant lady’s day out” complete with manicure/pedicure, shopping, and partaking in whatever sweet treats my heart desired. Girlfriend had none of that. She chose “pregnant lady’s day out,” to come out.
I’d like to go on record and say she is better than any treat this pregnant lady had planned to procure instead. In fact, a few hours after she was born, I told the delivery room full of family, “I can’t wait to do this again.”
And it’s true. As much as pregnancy and delivery are hard at times, there is nothing like a newborn to help remind me of all that is beautiful and hopeful about this world.
We love her deeply. She looks markedly like her big sister did, is covered in some serious newborn fuzz (who knew baby ears could be hairy?!) and for a lady, works her newborn male-pattern baldness quite well.
My cup runneth over with gratitude for a healthy baby, a devoted spouse, a loving family, and the many tender moments she has already brought into our life. I cannot stop the tears when I consider all of these blessings.
I have so much to say about this little lady. For now though, I just want to snuggle her sweetness and enjoy her as she rests perfectly in the hollow of my neck reserved for babies. I can’t get enough of her skinny little legs tucked high and tight on my chest just like they were doing in my belly only a few short days ago.
I’ll be back sometime in the next week to share her story, but for now, I just want to spend my time kissing what little hair she has on her head right off.
Image: Black and white image courtesy of my friend Jana
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
You probably won’t remember much of life before having a sister. It may be all you’ll ever know. I feel it paramount to tell you now, before life changes a bit abruptly for you, you’re going to be a great big sister. I know it. Deep in my bones.
The other night you cried out for me and as I rocked you and you drifted back to sleep, I whispered in your ear. I told you a lot of little things and I thought you asleep when I whispered, “you’re going to be the best big sister.” You surprised me with your softest, sweetest, raspiest, dreamiest reply of, “Yeah” as you nuzzled deeper into my neck. You are my girl. You are.
I know you are little. People ask me continually if you’re excited to be a sister. They ask me if you understand you’re going to be a sister. I know you’ll never quite be adequately prepared for the change of a new baby, but there is something in you that understands the importance of being a sister.
I feel this understanding comes because of the little soul that you are. The little soul that you came with.
You my girl are a feeler. A lover. An inquisitive little being who bounces through the day with excitement and tenacity. These traits make your sister lucky to have you in her life. There is so much she can learn from you.
You are continually interested in how people are feeling and are very perceptive at others’ emotions. You are gentle. You cry easily when others are unkind. The compassion you exhibit means everything in this world. I look forward to watching your tender soul with your new sister.
I wish I could impart some profound wisdom about what I’ve learned from being a sister but I realized, it’s not my wisdom to impart.
I want each of you, your sister and you, to be exactly whoever you want to be. Maybe that means you’ll be very similar. Maybe that means you’ll be completely different. But whatever, whoever you both decide to become, you’ll be uniquely wonderful and get to discover and create your sisterly relationship together.
I know that at times you’ll fight. I know at times you’ll get annoyed. I know at times you’ll say things that you regret. This is part of being a sister. Sisterhood is a lifelong class in discovering and becoming your best self as you learn to forgive, support, and love unconditionally.
I hope that she is your best friend like my sisters are to me.
As sisters, you’re bound for life. I pray that bond strengthens you and lightens you.
It’s big to become a sister, but you’re ready. We’re both as ready as we can be for this new adventure. Just know that I’ll always help you as the landscape of life changes. We’ll all grown and learn together. Let’s put on our brave wings, and fly into this new territory together.
Image: Loving on her sister aka a good foot rest
Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
Today, my cup runneth over.
Seeing as it’s Thanksgiving this week, I felt it appropriate to share my gratitude.
I recently wrote about my fears and the doctor’s concerns regarding fluid in our baby’s kidneys. Many have inquired about out latest ultrasound, (thank you for being so thoughtful) and today we saw our little girl. When we glimpsed her sweet little self, we were informed her fluid levels were perfectly normal and no longer cause for concern. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift of her health. Having a baby is such a leap of faith, an uncontrollable adventure, that I am humbled that this worry, this fear, no longer exists. While worry always accompanies parenthood, today, none of it has surfaced. I only feel thankful.
While it may be easy to say, “of course you’re grateful, the baby is fine,” what I mean to say is I felt grateful and at peace before that news came.
As the week wore on and the appointment got closer and closer, I thought I would grow increasingly anxious. Instead, I felt my heart brim with love for my little family and an acceptance for whatever the ultrasound brought. It didn’t matter if anything was wrong, we love this baby. I felt myself wanting to freeze frame so many moments in my head that kept me above the fear, and more thrilled at the thought of the little babe that will soon join our family.
As Harper galloped down the hall, a bundle of loud stripey leggings and crazy curls instructing me, “come on Peter Pan, let’s get away from Captain Hook,” I felt gratitude swell in my heart.
I felt it again as Harper, sporting only her princess chonies (Spanish for undies) and toddler belly, sat on the counter, enraptured in playing sous chef to the Rands making cookies.
And the feeling solidified in my heart as I walked behind my girl and her dad, my love, into the appointment today. I watched her little arm slung around his neck, her spiraled pigtails bouncing to his step. I felt at peace.
Later, as we watched our second baby girl being coy on the screen, I felt a sense of awe at her small little body and the beauty in the leap of faith it is to have a child. With my motherly bias, I knew I’d never seen a more beautiful baby. Again, I wanted to freeze frame the moment: Harper chattering about the toys she’d share with her sissy boo, the Rands asking sweet follow-up questions about the baby’s measurements and heartbeat, and me tearing up with gratitude for my little family.
This Thanksgiving, I know many people will place family at the top of their gratitude lists and I, more so than ever, will unequivocally be one of them.
Monday, November 5th, 2012
26 weeks/5 months
Maybe it was my mom asking what day I preferred her to fly out and help when the baby arrives.
Maybe it was the glimpse of the 5 economy sized boxes of baby wipes stashed and waiting in our closet.
Maybe it was the repeated thought that days have reached such a routine, such an ease with my daughter.
Maybe it was the fact that I just realized I’m a week shy of being 6 months pregnant and the THIRD trimester is knocking at my door.
Maybe it was the passing of the gateway holiday Halloween, and the recognition that these next few busy holiday months are going to speed by.
Maybe it was reading about the evacuated babies in the neonatal intensive care unit during hurricane Sandy and my heart aching for their families.
Maybe it was watching my little one trick-or-treating, so grown up, so not that little, so childlike and excited, and realizing how marvelous a process it is to watch your child grow from a sweet, helpless infant to an independent and captivating child right before your very eyes.
Maybe it was all of it.
But it really hit me this week. We’re having a baby. In 3 short months.
Maybe it should have hit me sooner, but this week I felt the giant tug at my heart strings to savor these last few moments as a family of three because soon, very happily soon, it will all change. We will discover our new normal, our new life, and my tears well up with gratitude for my little, growing family.
Maybe I didn’t let it hit me sooner because I cry uncontrollable tears of joy every time I let myself imagine the sweet little cherub joining our family, falling asleep in my arms, meeting her big sister, and snuggling her daddy.
I am completely besotted with my babies. The toddler-aged one I laugh with everyday and the one growing in my belly. Growing, raising, and keeping babies with my husband is my favorite. It is truly miraculous in every sense of the word.
I can patiently wait for the next three months because I have plenty to keep me busy, but especially because I know her arrival will be added to my precious list of “very best days.”
Until then, sweet baby girl.
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
Sometimes I think it is society’s expectation that pregnant women MUST complain. While one stereotype of pregnancy is the maternal glow, I think the other, more expected stereotype is the giant, tired, hot, cranky, pregnant lady mess.
I often get asked how I’m feeling during this pregnancy and I sense that I often let people down with my response of “good” or “great.” While my pregnancy has been relatively easy, there are a few health concerns about the baby and there have certainly been things to complain about but most days, I can’t bring myself to do it. Pregnancy is hard. Really hard. No doubt. And there are things I lament to my husband about on occasion or I wish in my head were easier, but then I stop myself. There are plenty of women who would relish this opportunity and I don’t want to waste it complaining or wishing it away. I only have this moment. And sometimes, unbeknownst to all of us, this moment is all we get.
Babies are not supposed to die. It goes against the natural order. When women become pregnant, I think the idea that the death of a child is a possibility is considered, but normally, optimistically, most women are able to push it from their minds.
I have not lost a child.
Like everyone, I hope to never lose a child. But shortly after the birth of my first daughter, my best friend lost her baby three days before she was due. While I was not the mother suffering an agonizing loss, and I don’t want to suggest I knew how she felt, I was a friend whose heart broke, a new mother who worried, and a helpless human being to the reality of life and death.
I write this not as an unequivocally sobering post, or to try to tell my friend’s story (it is her story to tell), but to explain how a darling baby girl I devastatingly never got to hold or watch grow up, shaped me as a mother forever.
When her baby died, I felt so much guilt. I felt guilty that my baby lived. I didn’t deserve a baby more than my friend did. I was a less knowledgeable mother than she was and I was racked with the guilt of laughing with, smiling at, and overwhelmingly loving my healthy, living baby girl.
Those feelings of guilt took a long time to subside and sometimes, they still resurface. They especially resurface when I realize that her heartbreaking death taught me so much about being a mother. The little girl I had planned on spoiling and giving so much love ended up giving me so much more in return.
After her death, in those undeniably hard newborn, new mom, bleary-eyed hormonal first months of motherhood, instead of complaining, I’d hold my daughter tighter, bounce her longer, and let her sleep on my chest more often. I would think of my friend, who would give anything to have a baby wake her up every half-hour in the night or nurse endlessly during the day. It made me realize I only had that moment. Today was hard, yes, that moment was hard, undoubtedly, but somewhere, there were plenty of people wanting that moment I was wishing away. Her daughter gave me the life-changing gift of perspective.
Please understand that I agree wholeheartedly that pregnancy is difficult. I hear unimaginable stories of the hardships women endure during pregnancy; perpetual nausea, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, insomnia, and bed-rest. Each mother bears some stripes of pregnancy. No one is unscathed. Pregnancy is really hard. It’s okay to say that. To express that. To vent that. But I refuse to willingly and overwhelmingly complain about pregnancy. I refuse to wish nine months, a sliver in actuality, away.
It is easy to complain, I’m definitely guilty of it, but it makes me uncomfortable and regretful. The cliché is true that “the days are long but the years are short.” While I imagine it will be easy to recollect all the adorable and funny things my daughter did and easy to forget her unpleasantness and the tears I cried in frustration, I also want to remember me as a mom who loved her the best I could in whatever hard, ugly, long, painful, moment we were in. I don’t want to wish any of them away.
I want to do the same with this pregnancy. I want to love it for whatever brings, good and hard. I want to be grateful for all the moments I do get.
Thank you to the sweet, little red-headed girl l I miss and am indebted to forever for helping me try to be a more grateful, present mom.